I'm continuing work on the skill challenge system sketched out above. So far I'm sticking quite closely to those ideas; playtesting (which should commence soon) will tell if the result works and is enjoyable.
Other than that there's not much going on, design-wise. I've been playing a lot of City of Heroes and Blood Bowl on the computer lately, and continue to be impressed with the design of both.
City of Heroes offers a tremendous variability in character design: 14 classes with dozens of builds each, and all of them play differently. I've played at least half a dozen of each of the base classes (Warshades and Peacebringers don't really interest me, and while I've tried an Arachnos Soldier and a Widow they haven't been all that fun yet), and all of them have their own quirks while still filling similar roles. (And that's without getting into the literally billions of costume variants. That's something other MMO's could really learn from, IMO.)
Blood Bowl is the only highly random confrontational game I enjoy, and I'm not sure why. About half the matches I play against players of approximately equal skill are decided by the dice, and many of those are just no fun for either player, but the other half are usually extremely tense affairs with non-stop action, audacious plays and unexpected reversals.
It's too bad the AI is so crappy. It makes mistakes a human player spots after playing less than a dozen games, and I can't help but think that if they had put the time they spent on the cheerleaders on the AI instead the game would have been much more enjoyable.
I'd like to see a combat skirmish game that worked similarly to Blood Bowl, in that fighting is a means to an end rather than the point of the game. (I've played some Necromunda and tried Mordheim, and while they have their charm neither has the elegance or balance of Blood Bowl.) The combination of fighting with a goal that isn't directly related to that (in Blood Bowl's case, getting the ball into the opposing team's end zone) is quite interesting and something that's not done nearly enough.